Pick Em

PICK EM FRIDAY | BETERBIEV VS. GVOZDYK | STAFF PICKS

The Light Heavyweight division will host one of boxing’s most eagerly anticipated match-ups on Saturday night, featuring Top Rank stablemates in IBF Ruler Artur Beterbiev who will stare down the barrel of the division's other gunslinger in WBC king Oleksandr Gvozdyk in what promises to be a shootout which looks like taking no prisoners.

The Light Heavyweight division will host one of boxing’s most eagerly anticipated match-ups on Friday night, featuring Top Rank stablemates in IBF Ruler Artur Beterbiev who will stare down the barrel of the division’s other gunslinger in WBC king Oleksandr Gvozdyk in what promises to be a shootout which looks like taking no prisoners. 

In a loaded division, each man will be looking to nail his name to the mast in a bid to put forth an argument for the reasoning as to why they should be numero uno (Number One). 

A path of devastation as led us to this point, a path which looks like continuing for a while to come yet with Eastern European pride at stake both Beterbiev and Gvozdyk will continue the age-old rivalry between the two warring nations. 


Paul J Daley – BETERBIEV TKO – Whatever way you cut it, this fight is, excuse the pun, a ‘Pick em’ kind of contest with no obvious winner from the outset. 

Beterbiev looks to hold a slight edge in the power stakes, meticulously positioning himself with slow methodical steps, feints mixed with head movement thrown in for good measure, a tried and tested tactic that allows him to get close to his prey before the inevitable heavy artillery follows with usually devastating results which 14 of his former opposition can attest to the fact, Gvozdyk, on the other hand, is also no slouch in regards to power, but I feel is a little more technically sound than the more rough/rugged Russian. Gvozdyk uses a long jab to gauge distance, awaiting his moment to counter any slip-ups a challenger should make, when one does present itself it’s usually too late for that individual, a sprung trap with no way out. 

After going back and forth, let me take this opportunity to say that If your looking for answers to a winner by delving a little deeper into their respective amateur careers, let me save you the time, both had extensive careers in the unpaid ranks, winning more than their fair share of accolades along the way, they did share the ring once previous, a victory in favour of Beterbiev but before getting carried away, we are unable to take much from that contest as it came too early in the learning curve for Gvozdyk whilst Beterbiev was a little more established. 

I feel that the fight will be won in or around the tenth. Gvozdyk I sense will be ahead on the scorecards, having enjoyed some early success with his jab and counter tactic, enough to have Beterbiev falling into his shots. It isn’t a far cry to also predict frustration setting in for the Russian but at some point I believe a window of opportunity will present itself, possibly due to fatigue setting in late in the contest, allowing the pace to slow enough for Beterbiev to land the right hand over a sloppy jab prompting a heavy knockdown, ‘The Nail’ makes it upright on unsteady legs but is stopped short of the round closing with the referee given little option but to stop the contest. 

A fitting conclusion to a great fight spectacle.


Jamie Bourne – GVOZDYK SD – I am extremely excited about this potential fight of the year between IBF champion, Artur Beterbiev, and WBC holder, Oleksandr Gvozdyk. This is a genuine 50-50 matchup between arguably the two best light heavyweights in the division. 

Both men enjoyed good amateur careers, both carry serious power, both have been hurt in the past, and both are very well-conditioned. However, their fighting styles are completely different. 

Beterbiev likes to do his work up close, by marching towards opponents and letting his heavy hands go when within punching distance. Whereas Gvozdyk is more effective behind the jab and uses lateral movement to create openings and provide angles to throw the heavier shots. 

When this fight was first announced, I felt that Gvozdyk would be too skilled in the early rounds and too powerful late on, which would lead to him securing a stoppage between rounds ten and twelve.

After taking more time to digest the characteristics of each fighter, I think the Russian will enjoy plenty of success during the first half of the fight. Like his fellow countryman Oleksandr Usyk and Vasyl Lomachenko, Gvozdyk uses his feet well to move away from trouble and control distance. However, unlike his Ukrainian counterparts, he doesn’t have fluid upper body movement and often acts as an upright target, which will play into the hands of a fighter like Beterbiev. 

During the first six rounds, I think Beterbiev will use feints and jabs to the body to lure Gvozdyk out of his defensive shell and create opportunities to unleash the thunderous overhand right. The Ukraine native displayed his toughness against the hard-hitting Adonis Stevenson last December but has been troubled in the past by Tommy Karpency, who dropped him with a short right hook. Beterbiev hits far harder than anyone Gvozdyk has encountered in the paid ranks, so I think he will be forced to pick himself off the canvas at least once during the first three rounds of the contest. 

As the fight progresses, Gvozdyk will begin to adapt to his opponents’ style and game-plan, by utilising his ramrod jab and stepping to the side to throw solid hooks around the high-guard of Beterbiev. Gvozdyk possesses serious power of his own, and if he senses that Beterbiev is troubled, he will go through the gears and pursue the stoppage.

I see Gvozdyk also scoring a knockdown heading into the final few rounds, which will even the odds and prove to be the deciding factor in a closely contested battle. I suspect opinions will be divided on the scoring of the fight and people will make their case for either man winning.

However, I am backing Gvozdyk to win 7-5, with a knockdown apiece – 114-112 Oleksandr Gvozdyk.


Ciaran Owen Thomas – GVOZDYK TKO – This is such a huge fight! Two massive punchers. Unifying the division and it’s a proper 50/50 in my opinion. 

Hard to pick a favourite, although I do feel that Gvozdyk will be confident in the fact that he can hurt Beterbiev because as good as Beterbiev is, Callum Johnson, hurt him when he put him down in their fight. And they don’t call Gvozdyk who is trained by the great Teddy Atlas ‘The Nail’ for nothing. But Beterbiev carries crazy power himself and will be equally confident that he can get the win and go for a stoppage. 

My prediction.. although it’s hard to pick a winner in such a 50/50 fight I think Gvozdyk may get the late stoppage and think he has the better all-round boxing of the two and it will play its part in the fight. But there is no doubt that the real winners with this fight are us as boxing fans … the best fighting the best! Can’t wait, Potential fight of the year? You bet! 


Ian Stewart – BETERBIEV TKO – I’ve been looking forward to this fight since it was announced and I’m delighted to see two off the divisions top dogs facing each other in what is sure to be a firefight. 

Beterbiev carry’s serious power and is a threat to any fighter in the division but this is his toughest assignment by far. Gvozdyk could still be a bit gun shy after what happened in his fight with Stevenson but he can bang as well, the question is, will he be able to pull the trigger when he gets the chance and try and get in Artur’s face early on in a bid to ruffle him up.

All said I’m going Beterbiev in the 8th or 9th round.


Craig Simeon – GVOZDYK TKO This Saturday both of these unbeaten fighters put their world title belts on the line the WBC which is held by the favourite Gvozdyk & the IBF held by Beterbiev. I cannot see this fight going the distance both carry extreme power in both hands, both are very lethal at finishing off an opponent but I like Gvozdyk in this fight.

I feel his style and movement can cause Artur a lot of problems. This is the first fight Beterbiev has gone in as the underdog which will be very new to him as he knows himself the magnificent skills he has so how will he react to someone with the same skill set as him or even better as I think. My prediction for this fight is Gvozdyk to win by stoppage between rounds 7-10


Daniel Foley – BETERBIEV TKO – We get to see two of the best light heavyweights in the world clash this weekend as Oleksandr Gvozdyk faces off against Artur Beterbiev with the IBF/WBC and Ring Magazine titles on the line.

Both of these fighters are decorated Olympians and have put together some impressive pro records as they head into this unification fight. Gvozdyk is coming into this fight on the back of his devastating KO of Adonis Stevenson so will be full of confidence, however Beterbiev will also be confident knowing that he has beaten Gvozdyk once already when they fought as amateurs although I feel this isn’t a fair comparison as Gvozdyk was near the start of his career while Beterbiev was already an established top amateur fighter. Also, we all know the professional ranks are a lot different from the amateurs.

This fight has all the makings of a classic and potential fight of the year candidate, both fighters can dish out the punishment as well as take it. They both also possess excellent killer instincts and know how to get fighters out of there when they’ve got their opponents hurt. I feel the key to Beterbiev winning this fight is if he can cut Gvozdyk off and close the distance to impose his will and land his big shots on the inside. If he’s able to do this I think he stands an excellent chance of getting the stoppage or decision.

Gvozdyk, on the other hand, will need to use his reach, footwork and boxing ability to stay on the outside and out-box Beterbiev. This is a 50/50 fight but if I had to pick a winner I’m leaning slightly more towards Beterbiev taking the W and becoming the unified champion.

Regardless of the result, I’m sure we’ll all be in for one hell of a fight.


Steve Haigh – GVOZDYK UD – Can’t wait for this one and it’s as good as evenly matched as it gets looking at the records of both men it’s easy to think that this fight will be decided inside the distance. However, I’m not so sure.

They faced each other in the amateurs with Beterbiev getting his hand raised and both competed at London 2012 where Gvozdyk took Bronze.

Gvozdyk has two options, He is at his best with his opponent on the end of the long artillery but he’s also a very good counterpuncher, either he takes the initiative and keeps Beterbiev at range with volume and accuracy or he allows his man to lead off and make him pay with his smart footwork and counters. I expect him to keep it at range as much as possible with a busy lead hand, utilise the reach advantage and try to establish a tempo, If Artur is forced to play catch up after halfway then mistakes are likely to appear Beterbiev is probably the strongest player in the light heavyweight division, very accurate and exceptional at close quarters He is extremely dangerous on the break He will look to close the distance and get on the inside to unleash the heavy punches if it’s too clean and crisp from the outside it plays into the hands of the Ukranian.

Anything can happen in this fight. Each man will have the success I’m sure and I expect to see a great fight develop after a couple of rounds feeling each other out. My pick for a winner is Oleksandr Gvozdyk by unanimous decision but a stoppage by either man wouldn’t be any surprise at all.

It’s not easy to confidently pick a winner here, Sit back and enjoy 

RESULTS | BETERBIEV 3-4 GVOZDYK

I've been in the boxing industry for over 16 years but been a fan for almost double that figure. I'm the proud owner of TopClassBoxing which continues to go from strength to strength as we strive to give fight fans a voice to be heard amongst the community. I've also had several articles published by reputable magazines and you can usually catch me around ringside.

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